Robotics for Teachers

Teachers from various schools were not at Mililani Middle School to teach, instead they were there to learn about robotics. The Department of Education and the University of Hawaii College of Engineering sponsored three workshops that involved the mechanics, electronics and programming of robots.

The idea for these workshops came from Dr. Deane Kihara, an engineering professor at the University of Hawaii. Dr. Kihara suggested the idea for these hands-on workshops to Kathy Kawaguchi, an Educational Specialist for the DOE. Kawaguchi liked the idea because she believes that the hands-on approach is the best way to teach at the intermediate level.

Dr. Song Choi and Dr. Tep Dobry, engineering professors at UH, led the workshops, while Dr. Kihara and engineering students from UH assisted them.

During one of the workshops, the teachers constructed robotic turtles and tested them by programming them to move in specific patterns. Another workshop involved the building of a robotic arm with a built-in electromagnet to pick up objects.

Many of the teachers who participated believe that these workshops will have a great impact on how they teach their students. Michelle Bright, a special education teacher from Aliamanu Intermediate School, believes, "Students can use their imaginations and when they find that there is no right or wrong answer, they will get really turned on to science."

Next year, Kawaguchi hopes to hold robotics tournaments between schools. For now, she is working on developing more hands-on workshops for teachers. "I hope that this will serve as a model for the kind of teaching and learning that should be taught in all middle schools."





 

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